Ever since its release as a vinyl double-album set, The Empire Strikes Back soundtrack has offered bits of music that never made it into the final film. The video clips in this section feature scenes with restored music so you can see what John Williams had in mind for these shots. Read More
Writing scripts longhand and on paper is a bit of a lost art form these days. The personal computer age seems to have changed everything, much like the mobile industry seems to be changing life yet again right before out eyes. So it’s always fun to look back on the old days from time to time.
Slashfilm recently got their hands on a few pages of Lawrence Kasdan’s original, handwritten draft of The Empire Strikes Back. It was all part of this year’s “May the 4th be with you” (AKA Star Wars Day) celebrations that now (unofficially) take place every year on May fourth.
The pages are fun to read and while many have seen the old drafts before, these handwritten pages give us a few more glimpses into the development of the film. In one of them, Yoda seems to imply that when you’re a full-on Jedi, you can “see” things differently. You can actually see the Force around everything which is an interesting concept. Another mentions a deleted scene where Luke is training on Dagobah and fighting off some training ball droids that shoot stun bolts at him, similar to the one that Obi-Wan used while on the Millennium Falcon in the original film. There are a few other bits including Han’s line “…just remember that, because I’ll be back,” which was later changed by Harrison Ford to “I know.”
It’s a small bit of film history you might enjoy.
Download: Star Wars Sequel by Leigh Brackett
The Empire Strikes Back came out in 1980 and even as a 10-year-old, I remember reading about an early version of the script written by a Sci-Fi author and screenwriter named Leigh Brackett. She turned in a first draft and passed away from Cancer in 1978. This draft was based on a story outline from George Lucas.
From there, as the story goes, Lucas tried his hand at a draft or two but then turned those drafts over to Lawrence Kasdan who ultimately penned the script, although Brackett was still credited. It’s unclear as to the reason why, but it’s assumed that this was a professional courtesy since not many people really knew if any of her work ended up in the final version. Many interviews with Lucas and others who had seen the draft implied that it beared very little resemblance.
For years, this elusive draft seemed like a “holy grail” of sorts to Star Wars aficionados. In 2010, however, I was shown a scanned version of what appeared to be this draft by Brackett. It came complete with handwritten notes, crossed out words, and matched up with just about every description of the actual thing you could think of. If it was a forgery, it was an elaborate one.
At Starwarz.com, I also host a site called Starkiller. This small group of people specialize in Star Wars scripts. Being that I’m a member, we posted the script online and it’s the most popular download on the site.
At first read, you do get the distinct impression that it’s very different, but it’s mostly the dialogue. Many of the concepts and scenes are still intact.
SOME noticeable differences include:
- Han is never frozen and there are no bounty hunters like Boba Fett
- Lando has a different last name (Kadar) and a lady friend
- Planet names are different or changed around
- Yoda is called “Minch”
- Han is sent on a “mission” to speak to his powerful Step-father (which is supposed to be part of the next film)
and the biggest one of all…
- Darth Vader and Luke’s Father are TWO DIFFERENT characters
Luke’s father, simply referred to as SKYWALKER in the script, shows up in ghost form along with Ben while Luke is being trained. What’s more is he also tells Luke about his sister – who is not Leia. Her name is Nellith. Luke takes the oath of the Jedi along with his Father, Ben and Minch (Yoda).
It’s clear that Lucas wasn’t sure on the direction he was going with the whole Anakin/Vader story yet. It makes you think about Lucas’ explanation of how the whole saga was always supposed to be about Anakin Skywalker. When Empire was being made, it seems he had no idea about this. Nor did he know that Leia would be Luke’s sister, which explains his non-reluctance to having them romantically linked in the film. Was he shooting from the hip then, and is he now rewriting history?
Other than that, you’ll see that the general framework and outline from Lucas is pretty much there. Not much of Brackett’s dialogue remained but some of her spirit did.
For fans, this is a great find and a great read so I’m happy to be able to share it here as well as over at the Starkiller site.
Enjoy reading it and please leave some comments.
Download: Star Wars Sequel by Leigh Brackett
The story of Leia and Han is a wonderful sub-plot and one of the greatest, most tenuous on-screen romances of all time. The Princess and The Pauper. Beauty and the Beast. Prom Queen and the Bad Boy. Call it what you want, it worked. Here are some of their lesser-seen moments as well as some other mentions of Han’s other love: The Millennium Falcon.
Looking back, not much good can be said about Cloud City. It may be beautiful, but it’s a city of betrayal, darkness, and loss. Luke almost lost more than a hand there. Leia and Chewie almost lost more than Han there. R2-D2 almost lost more than his counterpart there. Not a fun place to visit.
It may be a slimy mud hole to some, but to Yoda it was home. This swampy, hidden planet was where Yoda fled and where he later trained the son of a fallen Jedi. Some argue that Luke’s Jedi training was much too fast in the film. Initially, there were more trials for Luke to endure. Let’s take a look at some of the deleted moments from the planet Dagobah.
In the finished film, we’re treated to just one Wampa ice creature who attacks Luke and takes him home for dinner. Originally there were supposed to be many more Wampas causing trouble for our friends at Echo Base. Much of the sub-plot was ultimately dropped.